Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet

Daily Nutrient Goals Used in the DASH Studies

Total fat 27% of calories Sodium 2,300 mg (1500 mg will lower bp even more)

Saturated fat 6% of calories Potassium 4,700 mg Protein 18% of calories Calcium 1,250 mg Carbohydrate 55% of calories Magnesium 500 mg Cholesterol 150 mg Fiber 30 g


B O X 2

How to adopt the DASH eating plan

  • If you now eat one or two vegetables a day, add a serving at lunch and another at dinner.
  • Gradually increase your use of fat-free milk and milk products (such as nonfat  yogurt) to three servings a day.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label on margarines and salad dressings to choose those lowest in saturated fat and trans fat.
  • Limit lean meats to 6 ounces a day—all that's needed. Have only 3 ounces at a meal, which is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • If you now eat large portions of meats, cut them back gradually—by a half or a third at each meal.
  • Include two or more vegetarian-style (meatless) meals each week.
  • Increase servings of vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and cooked dry beans in meals.
  • Try these snacks ideas: unsalted rice cakes; nuts mixed with raisins; graham crackers; fat-free and low-fat yogurt and frozen yogurt; popcorn with no salt or butter added; raw vegetables.
  • Use fresh, frozen, or low-sodium canned vegetables and fruits.



Tips To Reduce Salt and Sodium

  • Choose low- or reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of foods and condiments when available.
  • Choose fresh, frozen, or canned (low-sodium or no-salt-added) vegetables.
  • Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned, smoked, or processed types.
  • Choose breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.
  • Limit cured foods (such as bacon and ham); foods packed in brine (such as pickles, pickled vegetables, olives, and sauerkraut); and condiments (such as mustard, horseradish, ketchup, and barbecue sauce). Limit even lower sodium versions of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce. Treat these condiments sparingly as you do table salt.
  • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.
  • Choose “convenience” foods that are lower in sodium. Cut back on frozen dinners, mixed dishes such as pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings—these often have a lot of sodium.
  • Rinse canned foods, such as tuna and canned beans, to remove some of  the sodium.
  • Use spices instead of salt.  In cooking and at the table, flavor foods with herbs,
  • spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, or salt-free seasoning blends. Start by cutting salt in half.


Avoiding Salt When Eating Out

Ask how foods are prepared. Ask that they be prepared without added salt, MSG, or salt-containing ingredients. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate requests.

  • Know the terms that indicate high sodium content: pickled, cured, smoked, soy sauce, broth.
  • Move the salt shaker away.
  • Limit condiments, such as mustard, ketchup, pickles, and sauces with salt-containing ingredients.
  • Choose fruit or vegetables, instead of salty snack foods.










Grains & grain 




1 slice bread whole wheat bread, pita

1 oz dry cereal* bread, bagel, grits, ½ cup cooked rice, cereals, oatmeal, crackers

pasta, or cereal unsalted pretzels

Major source of energy and fiber





1c raw leafy or ½ c cooked vegetables

6 oz vegetable juice

tomatoes, carrots, squash, broccoli, turnip greens, spinach, green beans

rich sources of potassium, fiber and magnesium





1 medium fruit  ¼ c dried fruit   ½ c fresh, frozen, 6 oz fruit juice

apricots, bananas, dates, oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, mangoes, peaches, pineapples

rich sources of

potassium, fiber and magnesium


Low fat or fat free dairy foods


8 oz milk

1 cup yogurt

1 ½ oz cheese

Skim or lowfat (1%) milk, fat free or lowfat buttermilk, fat free or lowfat yogurt, lowfat or fat free cheese

Major sources of calcium and protein

Meats, poultry, and fish

2 or less

3 oz cooked meats, poultry and fish

Select only lean; trim away visible fats; broil, roast or boil, instead of frying; remove skin from poultry

Rich sources of protein and magnesium

Nuts, seeds, and dry beans

4-5 per week

1/3 cup or 1 ½ oz nuts; 2 T or ½ oz seeds, ½ c cooked dry beans

Almonds, filberts, walnuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, lentils, peas

Rich sources of energy, protein, potassium, fiber, and magnesium

Fats and oils


 1 tsp soft margarine, 1 T lowfat mayonnaise, 2 T light salad dressing, 1 tsp vegetable oil

Soft margarine, lowfat mayonnaise, light salad dressing, vegetable oil (such as olive, canola, corn, or safflower)



5 per week

1 T sugar

1T jelly or jam

8 oz lemonade

Maple syrup, sugar, jelly, jam, gelatin, hard candy, sorbet

Sweets should be low in fat